(She Wore) Purple Velvet

Tom Ford Velvet Orchid model shotYou’ve got to hand it to Tom Ford: he creates the most beautiful perfumes, bestows the most gorgeous names on them, and presents them in the most sensual bottles…. His latest creation, Velvet Orchid (in stores from September), is no exception – though I have to say, I don’t care for the advertising image that accompanies it (above).  I didn’t know Tom Ford had a line in wrapping paper …

Still, you buy perfume for the scent don’t you? And this one is an especially voluptuous, creamy heady and feminine scent which, says Ford, takes the DNA of the original black orchid flower into new territory. The woods and spices of the original fragrance fade into the background behind an ultra-feminine floral veil.

Fresh top notes of Italian bergamot and mandarin orpur are offset by the sweetness and warmth of honey and vanilla, while the floral heart fuses everything from jasmine and rose to Tom Ford’s signature Black Orchid accord. The woody, fleshy base of the fragrance is intensely rich, warm and sensual. This is a head-turning fragrance for confident or confidence-seeking women..

Prices for Tom Ford Velvet Orchid eau de parfum start at £72 for 1.7oz.

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Cheek Chic

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour BalmMeet my new best friends… They put a smile on my face (well, you need to smile to find the apple of your cheek) and a glow on my complexion .. Clinique Chubby Stick Cheeky Colour Balms (£19 each) are this season’s must-try new blusher.

I’m already a convert thanks to the ease of use, the nourishing, creamy feel on my currently dehydrated checks, and the fab range of colours. I’m currently sporting the rosy pink Amp’d Up Apple shade, but more corally Robust Rhubarb might get an outing this weekend ..

* Available now at www.clinique.co.uk and stores nationwide.

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The Art of Looking Polished

Cate Blanchett in Blue JasmineThere’s something very attractive about the polished look that you seem to find most often on the streets of Paris, New York and London. Simple, usually nude make-up (with the occasional slash of bright lip colour), unfussy clothing and accessories and an air of being on trend but not slavishly under its spell. It’s not a look that comes easily, or naturally, to everyone (though the luminous Cate Blanchett certainly worked it in Blue Jasmine, above) but there’s one simple step that can set you on the path to polished-dom: great skin. And great skin starts with thoroughly cleansed skin, as Clinique’s guiding dermatologists Dr David and Dr Catherine Orentreich, always advise their patients. They say: “Skin that is cleansed well, gently yet thoroughly, is better prepped and primed for whatever treatment products are applied after.”

It makes perfect sense, then, that Clinique has now launched a cleansing brush – to ensure the most thoroughly cleansed, healthiest skin.  Its Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush (£79) is not the first cleansing brush on the market, but it’s the first I’ve tried which was created by a skincare company – and that Clinique Sonic System Purifying CLeansing Brushcounts for a lot. As Clinique’s boffins point out, the most effective brush is only as effective as the cleanser it’s used with – so producing your own brush to go with your own cleansers (Clinique designed this one to be used with its 3-Step Facial Soaps) is the logical way to go.

The brush is oval-shaped and designed with two lengths of bristles to tackle different areas of the face, and to ensure that even the tricky-to-reach, and easily clogged, area around the nose gets attention. Lightweight and waterproof (so you can use it in the shower), the brush is gentle enough to be used twice a day for 30 seconds at a time (the self timer automatically turns it off after 30 seconds, the appropriate amount of usage time for most skin types).

* Available exclusively from John Lewis stores and online at www.clinique.co.uk now, and nationwide from August 29.


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The Holy Hair Grail

Ojon Rare Blend Moisture Rich Cleansing ConditionweThis summer, only your purse stands between you and perfectly glossy, sleek, healthy hair? Why, because Ojon has just launched a wonderful new elixir for the hair, Rare Blend Moisture-Rich Cleansing Conditioner (£18.50; www.ojon.co.uk) – and it really is the biz for anyone with damaged hair, breakage-prone hair or hair that is difficult to detangle when washing. I fall into that last category, especially since I began using dry shampoos and back-combing to beef up my fine, floppy hair for styling purposes…

A unique blend of oils known for their healing, conditioning, softening and reparative properties, the cleansing conditioner is designed to be generously applied from root to tip either by hand or with a wide-toothed comb, left to penetrate the hair for one to two minutes, then rinsed off. If you have dense hair that is prone to excessive drying, it could be used every day or every second day, and it’s gentle enough to be usable on normal hair two or three times a week or on alternate days.

It’s available online now, from the Ojon website or from Boots stores from August.


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Summer Nails

Chanel le Vernis x 2 (3)There’s something for everyone in Chanel’s new quintet of summer nail colours – whether you fancy full-on orange nails or subtle pastel lilac talons. Or both at the same time!

The French beauty house is encouraging Chanel Le Vernis fans to embrace the trend of mixing,  matching and even mis-matching colours for strikingly different looks and effects.

The “Accent Nail” Manicure involves applying  a different colour on the index finger from the other fingers of the hand. Try pairing Eastern Light (a shimmering white) on the index finger nail and any of the other colours on the other fingers, or Pink Tonic on one nail, plus Mirabella on the other nails. OrChanel Le Vernis x 2 Sweet Lilac on its own, and Tutti Frutti on the other nails.

Chanel suggests three twists on the traditional French manicure. The first variation on the “New French Manicure” involves applying Eastern Light to the entire nail and tracing a colour border on the tip of the nail. Or, you can apply colour to the entire nail and trace a white border on the tip with Eastern Light, for a demi-French manicure. Finally, for a reverse French manicure, apply colour to the whole nail and trace a white line on the bottom of the nail.

There are so many possibilities, in fact, that I reckon toe nails will need to be co-opted into the experiments …

* Chanel Le Vernis (£18 each). For stockists, call 020-7493 3836.

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Aveda and The Art of Relaxation

Aveda treatment pic 2If you love having massages, you have to try out the new Aveda Stress Fix massage, which, frankly, should come with an addiction warning. It combines Swedish and deep tissue massage with foot reflexology, and harness the relaxing properties of lavender, lavadin and clary sage so that your mind can drift off while your body’s knots are untangled and soothed out.

I had my first Stress Fix experience at the Aveda Spa at James Dun’s House in Glasgow last week, and was slightly trepidatious after Nicki, my therapist, explained that unlike other Aveda massages which can be tailored to suit the client’s requirements and concerns, this one follows a strict formula designed for optimum results. The main focus, of course, was the upper back – where so much stress is carried – and Nicki did wonders at working out the knots in a way that was thorough and firm but not so much that I didn’t stay awake. Indeed, so relaxing was this massage that I woke myself up with my snoring! Highly recommended – and don’t blame me if you get hooked.

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Copacabana Cool

Clarins Colours of BrazilDon’t be alarmed by the name of Clarins’ summer cosmetics collection – Colours of Brazil. There’s no vivid green or yellow in sight. Instead, the eyeshadow palette at the heart of the collection is a beautiful – and very wearable quartet of shades. The limited edition Colours of Brazil Quartet & Eye Liner Palette Clarins Colours of Brazil palette(£32) comprises a matte taupe, a shimmery gold and a chocolate brown along with a glistening coral and a lapis blue eyeliner for a dash of Brazilian-style va-va boom! The rest of the collection – a limited edition Summer Bronzing Compact (£30) and the highly moisturising new limited edition Lip Balm Crayons (£18 each)-  ain’t bad either … One for all would-be Girls from Ipanema ..

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